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Why Be Remarkable at All?

by Eric Keiles, Square 2 Marketing

May-June, 2012
If you don’t have anything interesting to say about your business, please don’t spend any money, time or effort on marketing. You are just going to look and sound like all of your competition and aren’t going to get the results you think you should get.

Being “remarkable” is a powerful thing. It makes prospects pause and say, “hmmmmm” or “wow”. It makes them spend a little more time at your website. They discuss your offering with friends; and, most importantly, give you a try over the competition.

Seems so easy, right? So why doesn’t every entrepreneur stop what they are doing and work on this critical issue? Marketing develops and delivers this remarkable message to clients and prospects, builds a case why they should do business with a company and drives revenue. It seems obvious, but there are many hurdles and detours on the road to being remarkable that entrepreneurs, marketers and small business owners need to navigate to get to the final destination – creating a remarkable company.

Remember Michael Gerber’s trailblazing book, The E-Myth? It describes how most entrepreneurs start a business because they are good at something – not necessarily marketing. And to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be strong in all of the disciplines of business: finance, HR, operations, sales and of course marketing. Some entrepreneurs just don’t understand marketing and the impact it has on the overall business. Many do appreciate marketing, but don’t know what to do or how to even get started. Action steps in operations and finance are more distinctive – marketing is nebulous.

It’s also hard work to be remarkable. Look at the effort Disney puts forth in the management of its properties or Apple in its design efforts – Herculean to say the least. Some entrepreneurs aren’t interested in working so hard to get to that remarkable place. But, if they did, they could charge $87.33 for a one day pass, too, and create much higher margins.

Some are just flat out scared, especially in family businesses. “My father started the company by telemarketing and we have always done it that way.” They are afraid to look around and see how the world has changed since past generations started the business and certainly don’t have a mechanism in place today to analyze ongoing marketing trends. In just the past ten years, we have so many new tools in our marketing tool kit – Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, Craig’s List and Trip Advisor to name a few. Like the restaurateur who didn’t know about Yelp, if your family owns a B2C company, you better know about these tools.

“What if these new marketing things don’t work?” This is a terrifying thought to some entrepreneurs. Remember in the movie Wayne’s World when Dana Carvey’s character bluntly says, “we fear change”? But, if marketers took the time to track response to some outdated marketing tools (e.g. direct mail) they would see that they aren’t performing like they used to and rotating funds into testing new ideas that potentially could dramatically change their sales performance seems like less of a risk.

If you are making enough money today to live the lifestyle you desire, you don’t need to change. You are there. But what about the future of the company – your employees and your children? If you consider them in the equation, you have to develop a company that can outlive your career. Once again developing a remarkable message and delivering it to new prospects seems like a great way to keep the company thriving for years to come.

Do you know how many management teams create a yearly strategic plan? Less than 15 percent. Over 85 percent of companies don’t have revenue goals that they are striving for. If you are having trouble meeting your goals, creating a remarkable company will help, especially in challenging times like the last Great Recession. McGraw Hill Research’s Laboratory of Advertising Performance analyzed the performance of 600+ companies before and after the 1980-81 recession. The results? Those companies that maintained or increased their advertising during a recession saw a 275 percent increase in sales growth during and for the three years following the recession. Companies that had cut back or stopped marketing experienced only a 19 percent increase.

So, what can you do to break out of your reactive mode and become proactive? Start with a little work on your marketing message and the “voice” of your company. Stand in the shoes of your prospective client and answer these four questions:

  • Who is the perfect target buyer for your company?
  • What pains and problems do they experience when trying to purchase a product or service like your company provides?
  • How does your company satisfy those pains and problems?
  • Now…how can you do it in a remarkable fashion?

Really think about these four critical questions. Poll your current clients. Brainstorm with your employees. Secret shop the competition. Then, gather the management team and work on this until you can present your company to the world in a new amazing light. The day before Walt Disney and his team opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California on July 18, 1955, he gathered them in a room and challenged them to make the brand new amusement park look brand new…forever. Of course they pushed back because it seemed impossible (and a lot of hard work!). But his challenge worked and they figured it out. And they keep reaping the benefits of that challenge today, and will for generations to come.

You can do it within your business, too. Take a small step today.

Eric Keiles (eric@square2marketing.com) is the Chief Marketing Officer at Square 2 Marketing and the co-author of the book Reality Marketing Revolution. Square 2 Marketing practices Reality Marketing™, a realistic way small- and medium-sized businesses can generate more revenue – without the “fluff”. More information and free resources to help your business can be found at www.square2marketing.com.